A doctor’s office might not be a guy’s favorite place to be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are less likely to visit the doctor than women — and that’s regardless of age.
Men don’t get a pass when it comes to their health. Your health is just as important as the people around you, and it may surprise you to know that there are some health problems unique to men that shouldn’t be ignored.
Here are some special health issues that should be good reasons to stick with your regular doctor visits.
Prostate cancer screenings are nobody’s favorite pastime, but this tool is essential for catching cancer early. Once you begin to notice symptoms of prostate cancer, it has likely progressed to an advanced stage. Catching this disease before symptoms appear gives you a much better chance of beating it. Along with a physical exam, a Prostate Specific Antigen blood test can help screen for cancer.
As men get older, they might develop an enlarged prostate. This common condition can result in extreme discomfort as urine flow becomes blocked. Some men might feel a frequent need to urinate or have trouble going to the bathroom. Although it is not unusual to experience an enlarged prostate, men do not have to endure these symptoms without relief. An enlarged prostate could get better on its own, or with treatments like medication, therapy or surgery.
“An enlarged prostate is most common among older men, and your risk increases as you age,” says Rhett Jensen, assistant administrator at Horizon Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “Eating well and exercising may help you avoid diabetes and obesity, which in turn can lower your chances of having an enlarged prostate.”
It’s normal to have trouble getting an erection once in a while, but you should be concerned if it happens regularly. Erectile dysfunction can not only have an effect on your emotional well-being, but it could also be a sign of serious cardiovascular problems. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including depression, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other issues. Talking to your doctor is critical to get to the root cause and find the right treatment.
Low testosterone levels can get in the way of getting a full erection, but this hormone is involved in far more than your sex drive. Having low levels of testosterone can also lead to a loss of body hair and muscle, and it can cause mood changes and a drop in energy. Over time, low testosterone could even lead to osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about possible treatments for underlying conditions or testosterone replacement if needed.
Of course, heart disease isn’t exclusive to men, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, accounting for 25% of male fatalities. Even more troubling, half the men who die from heart problems do so without any prior symptoms. Those regular checkups at the doctor’s office can help you know your risk and keep you on track with healthy lifestyle choices.
Going to the doctor for a checkup doesn’t end once you hit adulthood. Take charge of your health and don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms of these or other conditions.
A version of this article was published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.